Ending Malaria's Grip on Senegal

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

WWHI improves maternal health by reducing anemia and malaria in rural Senegal

Senegal Malaria Prevalence Map

In July 2012, WWHI will initiate a new program focused on reducing maternal malaria and anemia in Senegal, West Africa. In partnership with Senegal’s Ministry of Health, WWHI’s Community-based Malaria and Anemia Program (CB-MAP) is a multi-modal approach addressing maternal malaria and anemia in the Saraya district of Senegal. The program will train health care workers on how to deliver specific interventions aimed at detecting and treating malaria and anemia in pregnant women. 

“We’re confident that this program addresses a specific and fundamental public health care problem and that has immediate and measurable outcomes,” says Dana Allison, WWHI Executive Director.

Anemia, a major health problem in many developing countries, is associated with increased rates of maternal and perinatal mortality, premature delivery, low birth weight, and other adverse outcomes. The prevalence of anemia is especially burdensome for women in developing countries and is relatively high (33% to 75%). Within populations where these issues exist, most women are likely to be anemic due to a combination of causes including nutritional deficiencies, malaria and intestinal helminthic (parasitic worms) infections. Because anemia is the most frequent maternal complication of pregnancy, antenatal care should therefore be concerned with its early detection and management of risk factors. 

Each year, 50 million women living in malaria-endemic countries become pregnant. An estimated 10,000 of these mothers and 200,000 of their infant die as a result of malaria infection during pregnancy. Severe malarial anemia contributes to more than half of these deaths. Pregnant women and children under 5 have a considerably higher risk of contracting, suffering from and dying from malaria. Poor outcomes are particularly common in primigravid women and their offspring due to perinatal parsitemia.

For more info about WWHI’s malaria and anemia program, email info@wwhi.org.

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